Journal Article

Consciousness and Action: Does Cognitive Science Support (Mild) Epiphenomenalism?

Morgan Wallhagen

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 58, issue 3, pages 539-561
Published in print September 2007 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online June 2007 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/axm023
Consciousness and Action: Does Cognitive Science Support (Mild) Epiphenomenalism?

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Questions about the function(s) of consciousness have long been central to discussions of consciousness in philosophy and psychology. Intuitively, consciousness has an important role to play in the control of many everyday behaviors. However, this view has recently come under attack. In particular, it is becoming increasingly common for scientists and philosophers to argue that a significant body of data emerging from cognitive science shows that conscious states are not involved in the control of behavior. According to these theorists, nonconscious states control most everyday behaviors. Andy Clark ([2001]) does an admirable job of summarizing and defending the most important data thought to support this view. In this paper, I argue that the evidence available does not in fact threaten the view that conscious states play an important and intimate role in the control of much everyday behavior. I thereby defend a philosophically intuitive view about the functions of conscious states in action. 1

Introduction

2

Clarifying EBC 2.1

Control and guidance

2.2

Fine-tuned activity

3

The empirical case against EBC

4

Conclusion

Journal Article.  11306 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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